On New Year’s Day I sat down to watch a YouTube video entitled “Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer a month before he gave this lecture on September 18, 2007. His doctors had given him three to six months before his health would begin to fail. Pausch passed away on July 25, 2008.
In my blog I try to write about and celebrate creativity, and Pausch’s lecture absolutely meets that criteria. This video is over an hour long, yet it has been viewed over eight million times on YouTube, and has over 340,000 web sites like this one that have links back to it. The iTunes store now offers it as an audiobook and Hyperion has published it in book form.
Here are a few of the creative ideas Pausch puts forward, along with the video:
- Bring something to the table and you are more welcome.
- You have to get the fundamentals down or the fancy stuff won’t work.
- Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want something.
- Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.
- Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
As you leave whatever good or bad luck you had in 2008 behind, set aside some time to watch how someone with every reason to pity themselves instead challenges others to be more creative. (Office workers may need to watch this one at home due to the length, although a smart manager could make this the subject of a group viewing session.) My best wishes to everyone for a happy, prosperous and creative new year.
(This blog is dedicated to my good friend Joe Dougherty, former President of Thomson NETg, who passed away in 2008 after a 30 month fight with cancer. I could imagine him and Pausch trading jokes during chemo.)